Ok, let me clarify some substantive that I'm going to use:

  1. Content: it may refer to comments, body or title of a certain post.
  2. Offensive: anything that I wouldn't show to my Boss, family or for what matters God.
  3. NSFW: same as offensive.
  4. Vandalize: Act of harming a individual or the community.

Related: This is pertinent to editing SPAM1 and this is why I say that the post should be flagged and not edited2.

So, why I specifically commented to a user not to edit offensive content out that question? Simple. If you see the duplicated to that question is a word-by-word copy to make the post valid (the same as the (2) link), hence the only objective of OP was vandalize the site (this is the original post, and this is from where it was copied from), not to ask a question. Hence, I reverted the edit and allowed the community consensus (which if nobody noticed granted the offending user 2 upvotes) and let the post die.

If you edit a post, there's always the possibility that Community ♦ invalidate the flags that are pilling up in the post and the user get away with their evil deeds.

So, is there any reason to edit a post which sole objective was vandalize the site?

There are two related meta tags for flagging. Maybe they should be merged...

2 Answers 2


No, offensive or spam content should be flagged as either spam or offensive.

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These two options are equivalent and will result in the post being removed without moderator intervention once enough flags have been raised. Additionally, posts removed in this way will count as a deleted post (which, if the user gets enough of them, will prevent them posting more spam or offensive content) and apply a -100 reputation penalty to their account. For a further bonus, each flag of this type will apply a downvote to the content you've flagged!

The reason that these posts should not be edited, is it makes it harder for the rest of the community to see that this is spam content. The less visibility a post has, the longer it will take before it attracts enough votes.

Additionally, cleaning up an offensive of spam post has another negative side effect. These kinds of posts will normally attract downvotes, and with the privilege system in place on Stack Exchange this will limit the amount of damage any particular user can cause. However - if you clean up a post of this nature, it may begin attracting upvotes.

Giving spam or offensive users additional privileges means that they can start doing things like getting into chat, posting comments, etc. This is essentially providing a much larger area for the spamming to take place, and thus, more effort to clean it up.

A tip: you can double downvote content like this, you can manually downvote it and then apply an additional downvote by flagging. Enough downvotes and spam/offensive content stops showing on the front page.

  • While what you say is true. You may want to check the original context of the question/post. I added links.
    – Braiam
    Commented Dec 16, 2013 at 20:10
  • It may be worth mentioning (if true?) as to whether flagging a post that is eventually removed, will reward the flagger(s)?
    – gth
    Commented Dec 27, 2013 at 8:54

There is a reasonable train of thought behind "edit to fix it" with offensive content. After all, once the offensive content is removed from the post, no harm comes to the reader anymore and as such the post is now "valuable".

While that's true, editing a spam/offensive post is still not a good idea. Fixing such posts for a user rewards their behaviour - their post now stands as a valuable contribution and gains score and reputation, despite originally being posted much differently. This isn't a matter of post quality, it's a matter of post content.

There's also the whole shebang with edits and rollbacks causing flags to vanish, be invalidated or just flat-out no longer count for the relevant thresholds. As such, edits should not be made lightly.

Now, I haven't seen this particular example this has sprung from, as it has since been deleted, but if it is what I read from the transcript, I cannot for the life of me figure out how that post would have ever been a valuable contribution by itself (as in: it's not just a bit of a rough tone, it's actually flat-out offensive, low-quality nonsense -- if it was just rough tone, that'd be fine to fix, in my opinion.)

  • While what you say is true. You may want to check the original context of the question/post. I added links.
    – Braiam
    Commented Dec 16, 2013 at 20:10
  • 2
    @Braiam That fits the assumptions I made, yes. Definitely not valuable content, and the title is fairly offensive the way it is. I'd definitely have spam/offensive flagged it. (That is, not edited, because those two should be mutually exclusive.)
    – user98085
    Commented Dec 16, 2013 at 20:13

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